Raised in Amarillo, TX, Cheryl has worked in the finance Industry for over 30 years. Cheryl has been involved with FSS since 2009, and currently serves as the FSS Board President; she has actively chaired the annual FSS Harley Party for 9 years Cheryl has a heart for service and is very active in the community.
Her FSS involvement includes:
Family Support Services Harley Party Chair 2008-2017
Family Support Services Board Member 2009-2015
Family Support Giving Heart Award 2010
Family Support Volunteer of the Year 2011
Family Support Services Board Member 2017
Family Support Services Board President 2018
Other community involvement includes Beta Sigma Phi City Council Women of the Year 2015, Maverick Boys Girl Club board, the Amarillo Harley Owners Group, Daughters of The Nile, Ambucs board, Amarillo Panhandle Humane Society; City of Amarillo 2009 Paw of Approval Award, Original Annual Toy Run Coordinator 2010-2017, and the Amarillo Crime Stoppers board
Cheryl enjoys riding her motorcycle, traveling, and enjoys being with family.
“My heart is with FSS, all of the programs they have to help the community, and the people they touch each year. I am proud to be on my second term with such a great agency!”
Julie is Assistant Vice President for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, supporting Commercial and Agri-Business for 26 years. Julie's service of over 6 years for Family Support Services includes being a board member, fundraiser committee member, program volunteer, and Harley Party vendor chair. She has been on the Presidential volunteer Honor Roll for over 12 years supporting her passion of being involved in the community and helping change lives through local non-profit organizations. Her involvement includes Executive Committee for Hearts for the Holidays, Board member of Bank of America Community Volunteers, 8 years at United Way as a Loaned Executive, LE Team Leader, Leadership Co-Chair, and Alumni training committee, 7 years of Development Committee for March of Dimes, 3 years fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association, and many others.
“Family Support Services allows me to touch lives in so many different ways helping those in need. I have seen many incredible things happen and alter the future of so many of our local community. It is an honor and such an amazing feeling to get to be a part of that.”
Julie also has a passion for teaching and has been a national certified Fitness Instructor for over 20 years teaching for Gold’s Gym. In her spare time she loves watching her son, Shae play football and track for Amarillo High School, going to the lake, volleyball and any outdoor activities.
Robin is a native of Amarillo, Texas. Robin received her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1996, and began her legal career that same year as a criminal prosecutor for Douglas County, Nebraska. Eventually, she became the supervising attorney over the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit. During this time, Robin also worked as an adjunct professor for Creighton University School of Law.
Robin eventually returned to Amarillo and in 2008, she open the doors of her law practice. During her tenure as a solo practitioner, she navigated those affected by family violence through the legal system by assisting them in seeking and obtaining various legal remedies, including protective orders and child custody and support orders.
Currently, Robin serves as the Coordinator for the Legal Studies Program at Amarillo College. As Coordinator, she has challenged students to realize their potential, to achieve goals of graduating and working in the legal community. In 2015, she created the first Amarillo College Walk-in Legal Clinic to assist students who face legal issues.
Robin has been committed to serving the community for many years. She has participated in many community service projects. She regularly participates in pro bono legal clinics and workshops. Also, as a member of Anderson Chapel Sanctuary of Praise, Robin helps provide food to the Amarillo homeless population as well as providing school supplies to needy children.
Robin loves spending time with family, traveling, and serving the community. Each day, Robin reminds herself that happiness does not depend on external conditions, instead happiness is attitude driven.
Robin currently serves as the Board President of the Amarillo I.S.D. Board of Trustees
Ernesto came back home to the Texas Panhandle in 2003 after living in the Concho Valley for many years. A proud Texan, Ernesto graduated high school in the tiny town of Christoval, Texas in 1995 and attended a small trade school in nearby San Angelo. Before graduating from American Commercial College in 1998, he began working with an architectural design firm in San Angelo and has been in the architectural design field ever since.
Ernesto has been with the long-time Amarillo firm of Shiver-Megert and Associates Architects and Engineers since his return to the Panhandle. In 2012 Ernesto attained the designation of LEED Green Associate. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system designed by the United States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage sustainable design.
Ernesto came to Family Support Services in 2013 by volunteering with the annual Mardi Gras Party and then the Harley Party, before becoming a board member. Ernesto is also a member of the facilities committee at Family Support Services. Ernesto will continue to proudly serve the board of directors and volunteer for the annual fundraisers.
In his spare time Ernesto loves to be behind the lens of a camera searching for that classic black and white American photograph. Ernesto also loves to research his Native American and European roots and claims he learns something new about it every day.
Becky was born in Lubbock, and has lived in Amarillo for the last twenty years. In her early twenties, Becky adopted her niece and her two nephews and has raised them as her own. She enjoys spending time with her husband, their young son, and their four dogs. The Murphy family’s free time is filled with lots of dear friends, various home improvement projects, and making their world-famous tacos.
Becky has worked in cosmetics at Dillard’s for the last sixteen years, and is currently a cosmetics manager. What was supposed to be a part-time summer job turned into a career; and with that, a passion for makeup and empowering women of all ages to find confidence and their own beauty.
Becky’s passion for helping families break the cycle of abuse stems from her personal experiences with domestic violence and sexual abuse. It was thanks to resources like Family Support Services that Becky’s mother was able to escape her violent husband and start over. She feels her involvement with FSS is a way to honor her mother and has been part of a healing process for her.
Though it’s been a long road, Becky is working towards earning her degree in Psychology and Social Work to further help families in the Panhandle.
Brad is the Director of Customer and Community Relations for Xcel Energy for the Texas Panhandle and Southeastern New Mexico. He is a native of Pampa, TX and holds a degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University, beginning his career with Xcel Energy immediately following college. Brad and his wife Shyla have three children, daughters Peyton and Blakeley, and son Brenham. Outside of work, Brad enjoys time with the Church, his family, and learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Nathan Morrow is a board member at Family Support Services. Nathan is married to his beautiful wife, Chelsea, and has a five year old daughter, Cami Kay, who he spends a lot of time with, and enjoys to teach. Chelsea is a counselor, which gives Nathan a different perspective than your average person on issues such as homelessness or poverty. Nathan wants to help make Amarillo a friendlier, more understanding place for people of different religions, races, and sexual orientations.
Carla Burr is originally from Liberal, KS, but calls herself a Texan, having lived here now most of her life. She moved to Canyon to attend WTAMU and graduated from there with a BA in Mass Communications. Carla was hired by the Amarillo Police Dept in 1993 as a police dispatcher. In 1996, she attended the Amarillo Police academy and has worked for APD ever since. She is currently assigned as the Sergeant over the Crime Prevention Unit and Public Information officer for the Amarillo Police Department. Carla enjoys running and CrossFit. She also enjoys traveling around the US and also has been to Iceland, France and England
Kelly currently serves as Sr. Branch Operating Officer at Happy State Bank. Her responsibilities include overseeing all 35 branches from an Operations and Retail perspective. She ensures all branch operations are running smoothly! With 21 years of banking experience, Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge to her place of employment; Happy State Bank. She’s from the big town of Booker, Texas but has lived in Canyon since 1997. On top of her banking expertise, Kelly graduated with a Bachelors in Business Management. Kelly and her Husband Jason have 2 children, Braelly and Brixton. When Kelly isn’t working, she loves to spend her time shopping, fishing, and “chasing two very active kids.” Kelly loves to work hard and have fun, she has a true passion for customer service and doing the right thing.
David Meraz is the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Street Volkswagen of Amarillo. He has lived in the Panhandle since he graduated from West Texas A&M University in 2011 where he earned a degree in Mass Communication. David loves to volunteer with Family Support Services because of all the great programs and work they do in Amarillo and the Panhandle, and this is also the reason he joined the board in 2018. David has been a Loaned Executive with United Way since 2015.
David is also a board member for Dove Creek Equine Rescue and the American Advertising Federation in Amarillo. He is also on the Executive Leadership Committee for the American Heart Association in Amarillo. Los Barrios de Amarillo and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named David “Hispanic Man of the Year” in 2016. David is also a recipient of the Amarillo Chamber’s “Top 20 Under 40” Award, WTAMU’s “Rising Star” Award, United Way’s “Loaned Executive of the Year” Award and the American Advertising Federation’s “Outstanding Member” Award.
When David isn’t at work, he spends his time running, working on his home, reading and listening to podcasts. He loves to travel and hopes to one day retire and move to Madrid, Spain.
Alex Yarbrough is an associate at Sprouse Shrader Smith PLLC where he practices civil litigation. He devotes a significant portion of his practice to representing cities, counties, law enforcement, and the railroad industry.
Alex received his bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University in 2007 and earned his J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2011. Alex and his wife, Kelsey, are the proud parents of three-year-old Payton and eight- month-old Zane.
Bio to follow.
Sabre was raised in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Amarillo High School and West Texas A&M with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. Sabre has been a social worker for 24 years: ten years at Texas Panhandle MHMR and 14 years with Amarillo ISD as a Social Worker for San Jacinto Elementary. Sabre also works for Heal the City Free Clinic as their Social Worker.
Sabre has been an FSS board member since January 2018. Her other past and present community involvement includes:
Eveline River's Christmas Workshop Board for 6 years
Red Cross Mental Health Disaster Team
United Way Team Leader for 12 years
YMCA Board for 2 years
Sabre was raised in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Amarillo High School and West Texas A&M with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. Sabre has been a social worker for 24 years: ten years at Texas Panhandle MHMR and 14 years with Amarillo ISD as a Social Worker for San Jacinto Elementary. Sabre also works for Heal the City Free Clinic as their Social Worker.
Lisa was born and raised here in Amarillo. She attended Lubbock Christian University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While Lubbock was fun, she couldn’t wait to get back to Amarillo, where her heart has always been! She is an Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer with Amarillo National Bank where she’s been employed for over ten years!
Even though Lisa believes whole heartedly in the famous quote by Audrey Hepburn, “As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others,” this was something that she learned at a young age, walking in the footprints of her parents. Through Family Support Services, Lisa hopes to continue to promote and spread awareness with our mission and services to help overcome and breakdown barriers.
Lisa’s past and present involvement include organizations such as: Eveline River’s Christmas Project, The Junior League of Amarillo, Hope and Healing Place, The United Way of Amarillo and Canyon, Children’s Learning Centers, Daughters of the Nile, Homer’s Backyard Ball, and Khiva Shriners. When she isn’t at work or volunteering, Lisa enjoys shopping, watching movies, fun adventures, fast cars, traveling (especially if there is sun, sand, and water involved), spending time with family, friends, and most of all her four-legged fur babies, Brooklyn, Ziggy, and Obi.
Freida Toler is a Family Nurse Practitioner currently employed at Amarillo Medical Specialists in Endocrinology. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from WTAMU, Canyon Texas, in 1998 and her Masters Degree in Nursing from WTAMU in 2010. She has been a certified Family Nurse practitioner since 2011 and is certified by American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Freida was born in Albuquerque New Mexico at Sandia Air Force Base. She is a graduate of Des Moines High School Des Moines, New Mexico. She is a published author in JAANP (Journal of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners) publishing the article entitled, “Females with Down Syndrome Neglected in Primary Care”. She has held offices in the local Amarillo Harley Group and currently holds office in the Panhandle Nurse Practitioner organization.
She is current board member of Family Support Services of Amarillo and Panhandle Nurse Practitioner Association. Freida believes in the value of volunteering for her community. She has and is a volunteer for Family Support Services of Amarillo in various capacities including annual Harley Party, Mardi Gras and going Over The Edge. She has volunteered for the Mavericks Boys and Girls Club, Pantex annual Christmas Project, United Way, M.S. organization as well as helping with the Tripps Harley Davidson annual toy Run. She has been a guest speaker for Panhandle Nurse Practitioner annual symposium – Topic: A Look at Womens Healthcare Guidelines.
Her current membership’s include:
Panhandle Nurse Practitioner Association-Sigma Theta Tau
International Honor Society of Nursing
Texas Nurse Practitioner Association
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
NAMS (North American Menopause Society)
Jim has 25+ years of experience in working towards making the Texas Panhandle a healthier and safer place to live. Jim first joined FSS in 1997, and worked as a shelter advocate and educator for several years before leaving to pursue other opportunities. Jim returned to FSS in 2013 as the Executive Director after serving as the Director of Planning and Public Information for Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral and Developmental Health. Jim believes in fighting for the oppressed and providing people with the opportunity to live the best life that they can.
Jim has years of experience in developing, implementing, and providing oversight of innovative and outside-of-the-box programs. This mindset can be traced to growing up on the high plains of Colorado, where his first job was driving a tractor at the age of 4 years old on the family farm/ranch. His dad's hired hands had taken off, and broom-corn crops had to be brought in. So his dad developed a rigging system to secure Jim to the tractor seat, and showed Jim how to engage and disengage the clutch to make the tractor move; broom-corn could then be thrown on the sled behind the tractor as it went. His mother was not a big fan of this when she found out. But his granddad was; shortly thereafter he showed Jim how to drive his pickup in a straight line in first gear so that his grandfather could throw fence posts out of the back.
Many years later, Jim received a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and an MA in Sociology, Criminal Justice and Political Science from West Texas A&M University. Jim has worked as the Regional Director of the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical and Mental Impairments, and as adjunct faculty for the University of Phoenix. He has worked as a probation officer, mental health caseworker, and has owned an assisted living facility. He has also worked as a barista, a custodian, a bookseller, and a librarian; he has delivered pizzas and newspapers, painted murals, and thrown his share of hay bales.
Jim currently serves on the Texas Council on Family Violence Board of Directors and the Panhandle Area Health Education Center Advisory Committee. He was a founding board member of the Randall County Prisoner Re-Entry and Education Program, and also served on the Regence Health Network Board of Directors. He has served on many other boards and advisory committees and volunteers for many non-profit causes.
Terry is a financial professional with 20+ years of experience in financial analysis, planning, and budgeting. Terry has a BBA from WTAMU. Terry has demonstrated expertise in, and dedication to, accounting improvements that have positively affected the efficiency and effectiveness of FSS, and in turn helping the people we serve. Terry is a self-starter and creative problem solver.
Joette joined FSS full-time in 2005 after several years as the agency’s marketing/PR consultant. Her 40+ year professional career includes sports journalism, advertising/PR, and human resources. Somehow, this diverse career path led to her current position that includes fundraising, event coordination, and marketing. “What we do matters,” she said. “I am passionate about our mission and those we serve and know that what I am doing makes a difference.”
A proud graduate of the University of Texas, Joette began her professional career as one of the first women in Texas to write sports. She worked for the Austin American-Statesman and Associated Press in Dallas, then switched to sports marketing with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association.
The move to Amarillo in 1978 was a culture shock for someone who had never seen a horse up close and had seen snow only twice. More shocking was a switch to corporate marketing, public relations, and human resources with several Amarillo advertising agencies. She eventually owned her own successful agency, and began a relationship with FSS that led to her current position.
At FSS, she is best known for the Harley Party and the Mardi Gras Party. “These events are possible only through exceptional teamwork . . . and I love being the coach!”
Joette is a sports fanatic, and her favorite teams besides FSS are the Texas Longhorns, Butler Bulldogs, Houston Texans, and San Antonio Spurs . . . Her other great passion is for her three children and crazy calico cat Cleo. “It’s all about family, and that’s what I love most about FSS.”
Kathy received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from California State University at Fullerton in 1993, and received her Master's Degree in Psychology from West Texas A&M University in 1998. Her early counseling career was with children and adolescents, first with Texas Panhandle MHMR and Family Support Services, then later working with at-risk families with Children’s Home Society in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Back in Texas in 2009, Kathy worked as the Coordinator for the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, working with men and women who have engaged in Domestic Violence in their intimate relationships. Kathy was promoted to the Director of Crisis Services in September of 2015, working with the Crisis Department’s team to assist victims and survivors of both Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Kathy's primary areas of concern continue to be serving victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and other trauma, social justice issues, and attention and services to the LGBTQ+ community.
After graduating from West Texas A&M University in 2001, Brandi Reed began her journey working at various social service organizations where people, mission and impact were at the center of the work. When Brandi discovered FSS in 2007, she knew it was the fulfillment she had been searching for. Brandi currently oversees the programs, projects and services within the Education Division at Family Support Services. Brandi has extensive experience in community engagement, grants oversight, social justice initiatives, policy advocacy, coalition building, and cross sectorial collaboration. She has been at the center of numerous innovations in the field of prevention including: co-founding the STOP Film Fest-an initiative producing the first ever peer led film festival in the nation; designing an innovative sexual assault primary prevention program for at risk youth focusing on teen dating violence, bullying and bystander intervention; expanding the GOT CONSENT Campaign into an effort to address sexual consent on college campuses across Texas; and helping to build the infrastructure of local prevention efforts on area middle and high school campuses. Brandi is committed to a cascading style of leadership that promotes youth activists as change agents and leaders in the field.
Brandi gets a kick out of being “quirky” and believes that everyone deserves a sense of connection, belonging, and an opportunity to be loved. Brandi is passionate about being a voice for the voiceless and has been working in social justice movement for over a decade - with both grassroots and grasstops stakeholders - primarily around issues that affect women and she isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.
Amy joined FSS in July of 2017 as the Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness. Amy is a Licensed Master Social Worker, and has bachelors and masters degrees in Social Work from West Texas A&M University. Amy was previously on the faculty of West Texas A&M University, where she worked as the baccalaureate program director of social work. She also served as faculty advisor and field coordinator for the MSW program while at WT.
Amy currently serves on the boards of Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral and Developmental Health and the Randall County Prisoner Reentry and Education Program. She also serves on the West Texas Area Health Education Center Advisory Committee, the Texas Panhandle Suicide Prevention Coalition Committee and the committee for the Annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference. Amy previously served on the board of FSS.
Amy has worked as a Lead Mental Health Professional for Amarillo ISD, as a social worker for the J.O. Wyatt Clinic of Northwest Texas Healthcare System, and for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services as a Social Service Surveyor.
Ms. Hord is married to husband, Chris, and has three boys - Dylan, Jacob, and Josh. In her spare time, Amy enjoys boxing workouts, reading, cooking, and staying busy with her boys' activities.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” – Jackie Robinson
Verlene S. Dickson was born and raised in Borger, Texas. She enlisted into the United States Army on 30 July 1986 and completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia.
During her 27 years of service, Verlene held numerous positions and retired as a Sergeant Major. Verlene has served in Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, as well as various bases across the United States.
Verlene's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal. Army Achievement Medal , Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, NCO Professional Develop Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, United Nations Medal, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Liberation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Valorous Unit Award.
Verlene Dickson has been recognized as a recipient of the Distinguished Order of Saint Barbara, Order of Saint Martin Award; Department of the Army Supply Excellence Award for Fiscal Year 1997, nominee of the 2002 NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Native American Indian Special Emphasis Program Chairperson, 2002-2004, Woman of the Year for National Association Of Professional Women, 2013-2014, Quartermaster for VFW Post 430, Canyon Texas.
Michelle is the director of a new division of Family Support Services- Emergency Housing Services. This division was created after consideration of the current challenges we face as community and agency, the direction we want to grow in, and to take advantage of the talented staff we have in place. This new department will allow for increased focus and development of Safe House services and 24 hour crisis hotline services.
Michelle previously served as the volunteer coordinator for FSS before being promoted to Shelter Manager, and now her new position. Michelle has been instrumental in creating and implementing innovative programs that are focused on delivering services to domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault survivors from a holistic trauma informed perspective.
Prior to becoming a Licensed Master Social Worker, Michelle spent time as a dental assistant, preschool director, tech on a med surgery floor, and started to obtain a degree in nursing. But, her passion for underserved people and wanting to be a part of social change shifted her focus to social work. She is passionate about eliminating barriers, oppression, and faulty beliefs around domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. The value Michelle lives by, "sometimes the greatest thing you can do for someone is to sit with them and bear witness to their suffering, and remind them of the value and strength they possess".
Michelle received her Master’s degree in Social Work at Arizona State University (ASU) in 2011 (advanced standing), with her undergraduate degree in Social Work also at ASU in 2010 (magna cum laude). She previously held positions as the shelter coordinator for the Salvation Army of Amarillo, as the Director of Domestic Abuse Programs and Direct Services Manager for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse in Tuscon, AZ, and as a medical social worker. In a collaborative effort with the University of Arizona, she was recognized in published research for creating access for survivors of Domestic Violence to women’s health screenings and education on healthy relationships.
Michelle loves the outdoors. She is avid fisher "woman", loves to camp and garden. She is also quite the seamstress. She has won blue ribbons for her work! Most importantly, she loves spending time with her grown children.
Veronica Villanueva is the Executive Coordinator for Family Support Services. Veronica is originally from a small farming community 70 miles south of Amarillo. She has been a citizen of Amarillo since 1999. Ms. Villanueva is a former student of West Texas A&M University where she pursued a degree in Biology. Prior to joining the FSS family , Veronica was a team member of Animal Medical Center of Amarillo for over 19 years. Her lifelong passion for animals began at a very young age and guided her toward a science major and eventually her career in veterinary medicine. She began her career at Animal Medical Center as a Customer Service Representative then took educational courses to become a Certified Veterinarian Assistant. After several years, was offered the opportunity to lead the team as Hospital Manager. She thrived in providing service to clients while dispensing leadership to her teammates. Veronica also relished in customer service to the many clients she interacted with on a daily basis. She developed many friendships at her time at her previous position that made her the “go to gal” for clients and team members. She was fortunate to learn many interpersonal skills and the capabilities to handle high stress situations with professionalism and compassion.
Veronica is a “people person” and loves meeting new folks and helping in projects both great and small. She believes building relationships is an important part of any business and enjoys meeting new faces and creating new friendships. “ I am always happy making new acquaintances and helping in any way possible.” Veronica is excited to be part of the FSS team and is honored to be part of such a great foundation in our community.
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her “fur-babies” . She has her dog Delilah Blu and 2 cats, Fredrick and Boom-Boom.She also has a pet snake named Rey. She loves live music festivals, traveling , reading and watching movies. As a history buff, she enjoys visiting museums on her travels to other cities and states. Veronica is also an avid cook who finds solace in the kitchen. She has many fond memories of spending time learning recipes from both her grandmothers and creating new dishes for family and friends. She finds joy spending time with her family and loves every opportunity to spoil her many nieces and nephews.
Dolorse Rollins is the professional billing coordinator for FSS, with over 20 years of experience in billing. Even with the constantly changing technology in billing, she has stayed on top of the changes and improved the agency’s billing processes. Dolorse has worked for Family Support Services for 12 years and counting! She has a proven reputation around the agency for being a knowledgeable billing resource to our counseling staff.
Dolorse enjoys working for the agency because she has witnessed how the staff really cares about their clients and their families.
Dolorse is from Canyon, Texas. She applied for her first job at A&W Root Beer in Canyon and was hired on the spot. During her first night of work there was a drag race night and she said she made more malts and shakes than she could ever count!
In her spare time, Dolorse enjoys her family including her 12 grandchildren, 5 children and following her musician husband to his gigs. She has been married for 30 years and is still her husband’s biggest fan. If there is a holiday, Dolorse will definitely be found in the kitchen making her family their favorite pink lemonade pie.
We don't have Freddie's bio yet, but he keeps things running around here!
Angelique Cardoza joined FSS in April 2018 and is the Office Manager for the agency. She began her career as a Customer Service Representative and account receivable associate. After showing great composure and dedication, she was offered her current position. Angelique graduated from Vista College with A.A.S in Business Management. She values working closely with her team on problem solving and creative methods to improve our service. Angelique enjoys volunteering for FSS events that raise awareness and funds for the facility and its programs. Based off of personal history, Angelique fully appreciates the importance of all the services offered at Family Support Service.Her favorite part of working at Family Support Services is the knowing how impactful the agency is to so many individuals within our community. She is the proud mother of 4 and the loving “memaw” to her 2 handsome grandsons. In her spare time, Angelique enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and fishing.
JT was raised in Bushland Texas by his grandmother and aunt. He has two brothers and a sister. He attended Bushland ISD until high school. He also attended Tascosa High and Amarillo Center for Advanced Learning. He was released from high school early and then persued his education in computer sciences. He began his colliegate career at Amarillo College and received his degrees at the University of Texas in Austin.
JT believes that being offered the opportunity to serve his beloved community is both rewarding and humbling. He feels we have all been exposed to the rigors and trials of life and we are all winners when overcoming these challenges. The ability to help others along their journeys is the best gift that can be offered. He feels that to help FSS serve our 25,000 clients annually is both significant and gratifying. JT is appreciative for their opportunity to serve for the greater good.
Molly Rafferty received a Master of Education in Counseling from West Texas A&M University, and is also certified in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning (EAGALA). Molly enjoys facilitating groups and using her equine therapy training to help victims of trauma.
Molly also supervises clinical interns who are working toward their Master's Degree, as well as LPC-lnterns who are working toward full licensure. In her leisure time, Molly enjoys walking with her dog, playing with her grandchildren, and spending time with her horses.
Susan has a Masters of Education in Counseling from West Texas A&M University and completed her undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University. She became a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas in 2004.
Susan worked in the public schools as an elementary school counselor for 25 years helping young people with their struggles and now at Family Support Services. Susan's focus is on play therapy and individual counseling for all ages concerning life issues. Susan focuses on counseling in issues of stress/anxiety, depression, grief, anger, domestic violence and divorce.
Having graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and Tulane University with a master's degree in clinical social work, Jim Walton has spent the last forty years in Amarillo counseling with individuals, couples and families, child therapy, psychotherapy, family life education, teaching, treating psychological disorders and facilitating recovery from trauma, including that resulting from sexual abuse.
Mixed with his life experience, his professional involvement has permeated into a vital focus to work with individuals and couples toward the development of healing relationships and attention to core, fundamental issues including the development of autonomy and empowerment, reversing isolation and experienced alienation, identifying and actualizing one's personal meaning in life, and contending with our own mortality and death.
Reva received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Lubbock Christian University in 2005, she received her Master of Arts Degree in Human Services: Marriage and Family from Liberty University in 2011, and she received her Master of Arts Degree in Professional Counseling from Amridge University in 2013. Reva is also certified by The Gottman Institute as a Seven Principles Program Educator; a program that can guide couples toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship.
Reva works with individuals (children and adults), couples, and groups. Reva provides counseling services to survivors of domestic violence at the FSS Domestic Violence Shelter and is a facilitator of the Batterer's Intervention and Prevention Program, as well as providing other counseling services.
Eloy Reyes was raised in Childress, Tx. He served in the United States Army as an Infantryman and deployed to Iraq in 2009. After he left the Army, Eloy moved back to the Panhandle to pursue his college degree. Eloy graduated from WTAMU with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in August of 2014, and a Masters of Science in Social Work in December of 2015.
Eloy started as an intern at Family Support Services, and was hired on to do intakes, work with Spanish-speaking clients, supervise court-ordered visitations, teach anger management classes, facilitate Batterers Intervention and Prevention groups, and anything else we can throw at him.
Louva attended Southern Methodist University where she received a bachelor degree in English, Spanish and Secondary Education. Her first career was that of a stay-at-home-mom for her family of eight children. As that career was winding down she returned to school at West Texas A & M University to complete a master's degree in English and Spanish.
In 1971 as a voluntary G.E.D. and ESL instructor for the Cactus community, she also volunteered to help write the grant that resulted in a Title XX Day Care Center for Cactus. As pro-temp director for that day care, she became involved with the families, their culture and the many social needs of that Hispanic community. It was this experience that spawned her interest in becoming a counselor.
During the 1980's Louva returned to WTAMU to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology and Mental Health Counseling. During this time she worked at the Palo Duro Hospital Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center, and later the Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center. There she did her first counseling as a Certified and Alcohol Abuse Counselor, and after receiving her LPC, LMFT and LCDC licenses did her first work with psychiatric patients.
Louva joined the staff of Family Support Services in 1996, where her varied background met an even more variable clientele. Louva provides individual, family and group counseling.The ages of clients served can extend across the life span. Here Louva takes delight in being able to work with clients in all of the areas of her training and experience and to be able to do this bilingually in the Spanish language.
Barbara is a lifelong Amarillo resident who attended Amarillo College and West Texas State University. Barbara holds a Commercial Airman’s Certificate with an Instrument Rating. Former stay-at-home mother. Mother of two (2); grandmother of four (4).
Paige Jones is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She received her Master's of Arts in Counseling from Wayland Baptist University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Midwestern State University. Paige enjoys working with both groups and individuals. She enjoys working with areas such as disabilities, career exploration, utilizing writing and creativity in sessions.
Prior to coming to Family Support Services she worked at Texas Workforce and as a journalist. She enjoys spending her leisure time with her two puppies, her husband and her large extended family in the area.
Dolores Scott received her Bachelor of Science Degree and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Dolores worked for Amarillo Independent School District for 22 years. She was a teacher for 10 years and then worked in elementary, middle school and high school as a school counselor. She was also on the trauma team for 6 years with the AISD school district.
In 2006 Dolores became a licensed professional counselor and worked at Samaritan Counseling Center. She is also worked at Amarillo Psychiatric and Associates before coming to Family Support Services.
Dolores works with children, young adults, couples and groups. Dolores works with clients with a wide variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating disorders, marital counseling, and other mental and behavioral problems.
When not working at Family Support Services Dolores enjoys knitting and playing golf with her husband Sam.
Mandi was born and raised in Amarillo. She received her undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University and her Master’s in Social Work from West Texas A&M University in 2014. She is a Licensed Master’s Social Worker and has been working in the social work field in Amarillo since 2012. Previously, Mandi served as the Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle working with individuals with low income and disabilities.
In her spare time, Mandi enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs, going for walks, and cooking.
Lupe received both her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. She received her state license in 2001 and is also a State Approved LPC supervisor.
Lupe has worked primarily with children and adolescents and their families via positions at Texas Panhandle Centers-Children and Adolescent Services, Cal Farley’s, and Amarillo Independent School District. She was previously employed at Family Support Services as the Manager of the Crisis Shelter and completed her practicum while here during her Master’s studies working with groups, couples and individuals. Prior to completing her Masters she worked as a Community Corrections Officer and in the prison system as an Educational Tester.
Lupe has worked with clients with a wide variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, grief, trauma, adjustment, divorce and other mental and behavioral problems. She was an approved Cognitive Behavior Therapist via the Beck Institute while employed at Texas Panhandle Centers.
Lupe serves as Team Leader for Texas Panhandle Centers Disaster Team; formerly the Red Cross Mental Health Team.She also services as a Batterer's Intervention Program Facilitator and has been trained and approved as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
Shelby graduated Quanah High School in 2015. She was the Valedictorian of her class. She is currently attending West Texas A&M University to receive a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She plans to attend graduate school to become a Licensed School Psychologist. Along with working as the BIPP Support Specialist; Shelby also works as research assistant for the Psychology Department at WT.
Tricia Bradford is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor from Amarillo, Texas. She received her Master of Education in Professional Counseling in 1994 from West Texas A&M University. Prior to this she received her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy in 1986 from West Texas State University.
Tricia brings years of experience in the field of mental health. She started her career in South Texas at San Marcos Treatment Center/Laurel Ridge Psychiatric Hospital and then moved back to this area to work at NWTHS Psychiatric Pavilion as a Board-Certified music therapist. When she received her Licensure as a Professional Counselor she continued her work at the Pavilion with all ages in both inpatient and partial hospital services. Tricia has also worked in group practice, private practice and in local Residential Treatment facilities. Throughout this time Tricia has used traditional and trauma-informed therapeutic approaches, and has also used expressive therapy modalities to help her clients gain insight and find healing and hope.
Tricia works with Adults, Adolescents and Children individually, in groups and in family therapy. She addresses a wide variety of issues including mood disorders, anxiety, adjustment related to life changes, trauma, grief, emotional distress and behavioral problems.
When not working Tricia enjoys music, art and spending time with family.
Jackie is a Legal Advocate and has been employed at Family Support Services since 2009. She is a credentialed advocate at the advanced level, with a designation of Comprehensive Victim Intervention Specialist, certified through the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Her major field of study at Amarillo College was Criminal Justice, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Wayland Baptist University.
Jackie is a board member for Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team, and she played an integral role in establishing the Domestic Violence High Risk Team. She has served as a volunteer and board member of Amarillo Area Adult Literacy Council and as board member for Texas Council on Family Violence.
During her leisure time, Jackie roots for the Dallas Cowboys, enjoys time with her family and best friend Presley, and binges on Investigation Discovery and other true crime stories.
Alicia is a Texas girl, born and raised here in Amarillo, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from West Texas A&M. Alicia is currently working towards her LCDC.
In addition to working for us at FSS, she is employed at Daily Recovery Services where she provides clients with substance abuse treatment. She comes to us from Texas Panhandle Centers where she worked as a case manager on The Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT).
Alicia has two boys D’Andre and Dorian and a dog named Jax. In her spare time she enjoys time alone and quiet time.
Rebecca was born in California, making her way to Texas 25 years ago and has lived in Amarillo for 16 years. She is married and has three sons. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her granddaughter.
Rebecca received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from West Texas A&M. She is currently working towards her M.A. in Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
She comes to us from Texas Panhandle Centers where she worked as a case manager on the ACT Team (Assertive Community Treatment).
A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim. ~Maya Angelou
Casey was born in Lubbock Texas and raised in Crosbyton Texas. He moved to Amarillo in May of 2018 and joined Family Support Services in July as the Volunteer Advocate Coordinator. He received his Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University and is currently applying to the University of Texas Arlington for their online Master’s program in Child Welfare Social Work.
He has worked in the field of Child and Family Services for almost 7 years and is extremely passionate to help others,. His passion for this field stems from personal struggles, wins, losses, and a domestic violence relationship that almost took his life that has shaped him to be the individual that he is today. He is proud to be a part of such an amazing organization and feels truly blessed to be serving the citizens of Amarillo Texas.
Stephanie is from Amarillo, TX. She left for several years but made her way back to Amarillo in 2017. She is married with a beautiful daughter.
Stephanie has a bachelor's degree in Youth and Family Ministry from Abilene Christian University. She has spent nearly a decade working with adolescents in churches then with those in out-of-home placements such as group homes and residential treatment centers. Stephanie has experience working with women to establish independence, as well as through jail ministries. She is incredibly passionate about crisis work and is grateful to be working with an incredible organization.
Estefania was born in Ciudad Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Hereford, TX. Estefania received her Bachelor of Arts in History from West Texas A&M University in 2017. Estefania focused her undergrad research on women in war with a focus on trauma. Estefania found a passion for crisis work after working in a residential treatment center for adolescents for 2 years. She hopes that as the bilingual advocate she can help give a voice to those with a language barrier.
In her spare time Estefania enjoys hiking, yoga, reading, and playing Pokémon Go. She is thankful for having the opportunity to work in an incredible organization.
Halei Story was born and raised in the Panhandle and after graduating from Pampa High School she went on to study Broadcasting and Print Journalism at West Texas A&M University. During her senior year at WT she was tasked with the job of being one of the MC's for the first ever STOP (Students Taking on Prevention) Film Festival. This is where she would meet her future boss, Brandi Reed, and lead her to becoming the Assistant director of Education at Family Support Services.
In her free time she enjoys being at home with her husband and 4 pets while watching TV, movies or playing video games. She is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady and has a passion in activism for women and animal rights.
Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get. Forest Gump said it best.
Autumn understands that there are so many surprises within our everyday life, and it isn’t uncommon for our lives to get turned upside down because of unpredicted occurrences. The most important thing to remember is that it may not always be enjoyable, but there is always a new lesson to learn that gives us an opportunity for growth. The power of growth is in how we incorporate that new lesson in our life. We are all human, and it is never intended for us to live a perfect life.
Autumn’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University. Autumn has worked for FSS a total of 13 years. During her time with us, she has been honored to work with a unique population of teenagers transitioning into independent living. She was privileged to walk alongside them on their courageous journey to create stability, while they also learned how to fit into our world. Now Autumn is the HOPES Coordinator guiding a team of parent educators that encourage and empower every day families that are faced with intense stressors. Getting to serve the family as a whole is extremely critical in building a rock solid foundation that strengthens the unity of the family. Helping families restore hope, joy, and love in the safe surroundings of their home is crucial in the work HOPES does. Autumn is passionate about her beautiful family, her two loving dogs, and CHOCOLATE.
Beginning in 2006, Alicia Carrillo launched her career in social services at Family Support Services. Not only did Alicia launch her career at Family Support Services but that is where she met her now husband, Andres. Alicia has been blessed to have a step daughter and if that wasn’t enough her family has expanded with three energetic boys to add to the mix. In the fall you will most likely find the Carrillo’s at a football game rooting on her hometown Canadian Wildcats or other area team, as long as there is football being played she’s delighted to be watching.
Family and meeting people are things that Alicia loves to do as well as being neat and organized. That perfect combination has manifested itself in working in the education department, whether its completing paperwork, preparing for a visit or event, bouncing ideas with a co-worker to come up with a solution to help them succeed in their endeavors, the education department has given Alicia all of those opportunities and then some.
Project HOPES is such a mesh of Alicia’s strengths in getting to keep paperwork in order as well as meet new families and getting to work with them one on one in their home. Good thing Alicia loves pens and has a collection because she gets to find the perfect pen and use fun colors to help her stay organized. Impacting lives and leaving an impression are things that Alicia hopes to give to all she comes in contact with at work, church, with family and friends or just around the office.
Raised in Dimmitt, Monica knows the importance of community involvement and serving others. She studied mass communications at West Texas A&M. Prior to entering the nonprofit community she worked in accounting at The American Quarter Horse Association. Her desire to serve others and passion for justice is the foundation for her work at Family Support Services.
She has been married for 8 years and has two beautiful boys who further influence her work. They love going on family vacations and getting hooked on Netflix series together! In her spare time, Monica is an active member of her church, Amarillo for Christ. She leads worship alongside her husband during the Sunday services and leads worship for the prison ministry as well. She desires to show the love of God through acceptance, encouragement and helping other find hope. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Monica loves her family, her work, music, Mexican food, beaches, her mini-van and appreciates a good red lipstick. Ultimately, Monica desires to be fruitful and productive for the benefit of her family, coworkers, clients and community. Her goal is to bring out the best in anyone she meets…even if it’s just a simple smile.
Ashley made Amarillo her home in 2015 and joined the FSS team in 2016. She currently serves as the Youth Advisory Committee Coordinator and 806 Outreach Specialist which provides human trafficking education to 10 counties in the Texas Panhandle. She has always been an activist against sexual assault but first became an advocate in the fight against human trafficking in the spring of 2015 when she was introduced to an organization based in Thailand that combats adult and minor sexual exploitation. Along with her job facilitating public education, coalition building, and victim advocacy, she also works with youth from at-risk areas as they advise Family Support Services on the issues that affect them most and offer input on how our agency can best serve them. Ashley also oversees a program called GIRLS that aims to end girl on girl bullying by means of empowerment, discussions on comparison and beauty standards, and activities that show we are more alike than different.
Ashley loves to write about most social matters but especially on topics like trafficking, sexual assault, and feminism. She enjoys live music, poetry, and traveling. In her spare time, you can usually find her snuggled on the couch with her two dogs binge watching The Office.
Brea graduated from West Texas A&M University in the Spring of 2013 after completing an internship with the investigations unit of Child Protective Services. Brea worked as a Child Forensic Interviewer for 5 years interviewing victims of child sexual and physical abuse, as well as providing training in child abuse prevention to child care providers, medical professionals and law enforcement. Brea was also tasked with running social media campaigns on multiple social media platforms in hopes of furthering community awareness in the fight against child abuse.
Brea joined Family Support Services and the H.O.P.E.S team in June of 2017. In her free time Brea enjoys spending time with her husband of 10 years Greg Berry and their 3 children Jack, Max and Paige.
Linley Laster was born and raised in Amarillo Texas. After graduating from Amarillo High School, Linley decided to pursue her passion for helping others and turn it into a career. She attended Amarillo College where she later got her Associates Degree in Social Work. Following Amarillo College, she decided to continue her education and attended West Texas A&M University. In December 2017, Linley graduated with honors and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work. During her time at WT, Linley was a participating member of the Social Work Club. As a senior, she interned at Canyon ISD. This is where she found her passion to work with at-risk youth. Shortly after graduating, Linley decided to seek employment that would help her fulfill her passion of working with at-risk youth. She learned of a position at Family Support Services that would do just that.
At Family Support Services Linley is the Mentor Project Coordinator. Linley uses her position to help at-risk youth by matching them with mentors that are also inspired to help our youth. Linley believes that you are only as strong as the soldiers that you have behind you. Linley views her Mentors as her soldiers that are going to go change the world one mentee at a time!
In her free time, Linley likes to travel and spend time with family and friends. One of Linley’s favorite places to travel is Colorado. She enjoys going to Colorado with her family on their yearly family vacations. Linley has traveled internationally to The Cayman Islands and hopes to one day travel the world.
Joshua Bonnett is originally from Phoenix, AZ and has lived in Amarillo since 2017. He is married with a lovely 2 year old daughter, and values his family very much. Joshua has been working with youth and social services for over 5 years. He has worked with inner city youth who are underprivileged, as well as with youth who come from wealthy families. Joshua is passionate about working with people in general, but especially youth, because he has a unique way of identifying with them and being able to relate to them and meet them where they are. Joshua also has passion for music, and loves to incorporate his musical talents into his work. He strives to create music that makes an impact on everyone who listens, and to inspire young people to use their gifts to help bring change to their communities, and to the world.
Germaine has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from WTAMU and a passion to work with families and children. She started at Family Support Services November 2017 as the Bilingual Parent Educator where she worked only with Spanish speaking families and loved every minute of her experience. Germaine is now the HOPES Case Manager and is looking forward to working with all the HOPES families and Parent Educators to connect families to resources that will benefit them towards their success in life and she hopes to learn and gain even more experience through her new position.
Germaine has three grown children, 12 grandchildren and is patiently awaiting the birth of her first great granddaughter Emaryee in January. She enjoys spending time with her fur baby Rocky and of course with her grandchildren.
"In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
Alexandra Perez graduated from West Texas A&M University with her Bachelors in Social Work in the Spring of 2014. Alexandra has a passion for helping others find their true potential within themselves. Alexandra loves challenges and sees them as opportunity for growth within herself and also within others.
Alexandra joined Family Support Services H.O.P.E.S team in November of 2016. In her free time Alexandra enjoys finding cheap fun things to do with her family and embracing every moment she gets with them and those around her.
I feel passionate about child development; this is why I found interest in the position of Parent Educator. I have always enjoyed working with children; my experience begin volunteering in high school, leading to finding a job with AmeriCorps in the school district, following experience in early childhood development through childcare settings. My passion for education and child development guided to obtain a Bachelor's in Education, graduating in December 2016. Working as a Parent Education provides me with the opportunity to partner with the Hispanic community and promote child development awareness and family well-being.
On my free time I enjoy spending time with my son, my soulmate, and my family. My self-care is making crafts and making meaningful personalized crafts for my friends and their loved ones.
Courtney Spencer grew up in Arizona and moved to the Amarillo area when she was a young teen. She is married and has two children, ages 3 and 1. She enjoys cooking, crafting, traveling, and spending time with her family. Courtney has gone on many mission trips to Belize where she worked side by side with at-risk youth, building churches and homes for communities and families in need.
Courtney worked as a direct care staff with at-risk youth in our community for 4 years, but has nearly 10 years’ experience in this area. Courtney was a stay-at-home mother for 3 years before joining Family Support Services. Working in prevention and education has always been a passion of hers. She truly loves walking along side others to help them learn more productive ways to work as a family unit, and educating young teens in basic life skills.
McKabry started working for FSS in October 2018. She currently serves as a Prevention Specialist and Youth Advisory Committee Coordinator, where she is responsible for reaching youth and empowering them to create sustainable change through prevention work, and serve as an adult ally to the youth prevention programs in the community.
Mckabry and her husband manage and live at Mariposa Eco-Village, where they work to build an environmentally conscious community that is a forum for sustainability and creativity. In her downtime, McKabry can usually be found working on art projects, binge-watching The Office, or playing with her dogs.
Nayeli was born and raised in Amarillo, TX. She graduated from West Texas A&M University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Nayeli has always enjoyed working with children. Nayeli is excited at the opportunity to become a Parent Educator for the H.O.P.E.S program gives. She finds great joy in knowing she is able to help families reach their goals. She understands that no one is perfect and sometimes we all need a little guidance in life. She is honored to take on that role to help children and families grow in a positive, healthy enviornment. In her free time, Nayeli enjoys spending time with family, going to the Canadian river to ride 4 wheelers, and watching movies.
Hector "Teddy" Larios was born May 2, 1991. He graduated from Palo Duro High School in 2009. He worked a few odd jobs before finally finding his passions to serve and impact the youth of the Panhandle. Teddy began using his talents around Amarillo as an Elementary School Mentor and around the U.S. as a DJ. Today he is a Prevention Specialist for Drugs and Alcohol in rural towns for F.S.S, becuase he believes in students and that they are the future. He wants to empower adolescents to make healthy decisions, advocate for themselves and have the courage to cultivate a healthy school enviroment.
Dana graduated from West Texas A&M University in August of 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social work. While in school she undertook the challenge of training a therapy dog, Atlas, and creating a program for the panhandle area, providing education on the uses of therapy dogs and providing therapy services in after school programs, nursing homes, preschools, and shelters. She also has a background working with youth in foster care and through these combined experiences developed a passion for helping others find healing and creating lasting change.
Dana and her therapy dog, Atlas, joined Family Support Services in August of 2019 as Prevention Specialists. She believes in generational change and is honored to be able to be a part of this process and help families build stronger ties and relationships. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, camping, hiking, and any kind of adventure with her husband and their dog.
Atlas is an Australian Shepherd therapy dog that started working at Family Support Services in August of 2019. He became involved in therapy work when he was a puppy at West Texas A&M University and has since been a guest in several elementary schools and nursing homes. His favorite part of his job is getting to meet new people and getting his ears scratched. Atlas knows all kinds of tricks and will do anything for a snack (especially cheese!) In his spare time he likes to go running, play with his favorite octopus toy, and nap in quiet places. He is passionate about making everyone smile and will spend all day in your lap if you let him!
Being born and raised in Amarillo, TX, Sabina has always enjoyed being involved in the community. After graduating high school she attended West Texas A&M University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. During her college career, she found the desire to help others and soon decided to aim her focus on marriage and family relationships. Aside from school, Sabina loves to travel, read, be around friends, and spending time with her family. She looks forward to helping others in their relationships and inspire people to become the best person they can be for themselves as well as for their relationships.
Hannah Finkenbinder is the Case Manager for the Transitional Housing program at the Safe House. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences with a focus in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences from Texas Tech University. Before beginning her journey at Family Support Services, Hannah was in an intern for Safe Place Inc. in Dumas, Texas where she began to exercise her passion for advocating for, encouraging, and empowering men, women, children, and families. The drive to help others is what called Hannah to Family Support Services. Hannah strives to assist individuals and families to reach their goals and greatest potential, and working as a part of the Safe House team has given her the ability to do just that. Her favorite part about working in the Safe House is the amazing success stories she gets to witness. “There is nothing better than getting to see individuals leaving the Safe House, going into housing on their own two feet, with a smile on their face, that’s when you know you helped make a difference in someone’s life.” Hannah believes that every client that walks through our door is special and unique and deserves the best chance we can give them. Interacting with clients and their families is important to Hannah and she believes that taking the time to sit down and talk with someone can move mountains. “It is important to feel heard, we don’t always understand what each client is going through, but we can hear them, and sometimes that is the most important thing we can do.” In Hannah’s spare time, she loves being with her family, traveling, going to the movies, taking walks, and hanging out with her partner and miniature Australian Shepherd, Willow. She thoroughly enjoys being out and about and loves to explore new places and meet new people. Hannah has only been with Family Support services a short time, but is appreciative to all of the knowledge and experienced she has gained since being here, she looks forward to everything she can continue to learn in the future.
Jolene was born and raised in Tucumcari, NM and has lived in Amarillo for the last 27 years. She enjoys spending time with her husband Gabino and two grown children, Brianna and Brandon. Hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, water skiing, boating, camping, fishing and vacationing on cruise ships with her family. Jolene received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Eastern New Mexico University in 1991 and a Masters Degree in Social Work from West Texas A&M University in 2016. She enjoys helping others by lending a listening ear and allowing individuals to be empowered in any situation they may encounter. Jolene has experience in working in the mental health field, indigent population as well as with the homeless population. As a Case Manager at FSS she provides individualized services to victims of human trafficking. She currently serves on the 806 Anti-trafficking Collaborative of the Texas Panhandle and South Plains committee (806 ACTS) and Amarillo Continuum of Care Committee (CoC) for the homeless population. ~Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person~
Lisa Marie Perdue is the Case Manager at the Safe House. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from West Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the FSS team, Lisa was a Volunteer Supervisor for another local non-profit organization. She advocated for children who are living in the foster care system; working hard to help children overcome barriers within that system. “Advocating for those in need is my passion, especially those who are unable to represent themselves in the court system.” Lisa wanted to be a part of Family Support Services because she has a passion to help those in need. She loves advocating for those who need a voice in a system many "unfair". Being the Case Manager at the Safe House allows her the opportunity to work with children who have been removed from an unsafe situation. At the Safe House, she has the opportunity to help parents and children communicate their needs to one another while they are in a state of crisis. Her favorite part about working at the Safe House is getting to work with clients on a daily basis. Whether it is in person or through the Hot Line, she is constantly helping a person in need. It has been very fulfilling working with children who just want to be heard and understood. One thing Lisa hopes people learn about the field of social work is that it is not easy but it can be very fulfilling. Lisa says, “We are here to plant seeds of change and help clients choose a path of self-determination.. She tries to be that one consistent person in a clients life even after they have experienced so much loss and grief and they feel like there is no hope.” Our society has made it difficult for anyone to ask for help so it is up to us to say, "I am here." Lisa is the proud mother of an adorable 2 year old and loves to spend any spare moments creating memories with her sweet family.
Cyra graduated from Robert E. Lee high school in Midland, TX. She set out to move up North, where she graduated from Amarillo College and obtained an A.S in Education and then attended West Texas A&M to study Business and Administration.
Cyra joined Family Support Services to serve as an Advocate and Hotline Interventionist at the Safe House. She helps to provide services that support individuals and families as they transition to a safe and stable environment. Cyra loves to witness and be a part of the client’s progress as they become more confident in themselves and their abilities to create and maintain a life they deserve. She has worked with several agencies serving children and families including: Catholic Family Charities and High Sky Children’s ranch. She believes in her heart that she is living her life’s purpose and is excited to see where it takes her. In her pastime, she enjoys working with AISD students as a substitute teacher. She is also very involved with her church where she serves as a teacher and a youth leader for the pre-teens. She likes to workout, read about history, and binge watch the The Office.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”- African Proverb.
Susan is an advocate at the Safe House. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education with a focus in mathematics. She is a transplant from the east coast. After seeing the sky, sunrise and sunset of the west, Susan decided to put down roots in New Mexico. Prior to moving to Amarillo, Susan taught mathematics in the public school systems in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Arriving in Amarillo about 10 years ago, Susan continued working in education but not in public schools, this time she worked in vocation education helping others to achieve a lifelong career.
Never imaging working in a safe house, but a friend told Susan about a position at the safe house. The thought of working with survivors was intriguing because in her past, Susan had encountered domestic violence but was unable to help the victim or the offender. Helping survivors overcome obstacles in order to create a safe healthier existence is a privilege. A highlight of working at the safe house is the daily interactions with people and seeing the survivors thrive.
In her spare time, you can find Susan sitting in a bleacher either at a wrestling match, football game, or baseball game cheering on her two Grandsons
Only by giving are you able to receive more than you give”—Jim Rohn
Brenda Talamantes is a part time Safe House Advocate. Brenda has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology form Lubbock Christian University. Brenda’s past experience has been working in post graduate education for over 8 years. She has teaching and student services experience. Her main function is to support students in their education journey and reach graduation. Brenda currently works full time at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center as their OB/GYN Residency Program Manager. Brenda strongly believes that education is the key to success.
Brenda likes to see the big picture and understands the importance of her contribution. She hopes her support will help Family Support Services clients during their difficult times.
Brenda enjoys spending time with her family. Her favorite time of the year is the fall, mainly to watch her favorite football team, the New York Giants.
Brittany is a born and raised “Amarillo-an” who will forever carry the panhandle pride where
ever she ends up in life. She is currently a Full time student at West Texas A&M pursuing her Masters in Psychology. She aspires to one day become a Police Officer that works with Special Victims. When she is not cramming homework, she stays busy volunteering for many local organizations such as: Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald, Tyler Resource Center along with countless others. Her passion is giving back to her local community to empower and educate people going through hard times. When she does have free time she participates in playing recreational volleyball and coaching her daughter’s volleyball team. She is a proud mom and sister. Brittany’s inspiration comes from both personal and professional experience. Her strengths are Crisis Intervention, de-escalation tactics, assertive listening and remaining calm in stressful situations. All of her accomplishments have been through the man upstairs. She is also blessed with a supportive family of seven aunts and uncles, twenty two cousins and eighteen second cousins. Fun fact about Brittany is she prefers pizza over tacos (weird, we know) and spicy foods over sweets.
Her favorite quotes:
We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one.
- Tom Hiddleston
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain
Alexis Roberts is a Case Manager for the Safe House. A first-generation college graduate from West Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, she is currently enrolled and working towards her Master’s Degree, also in Social Work with the intention to obtain a LCSW. Originally from South Texas, she proudly claims Amarillo as her home town. After moving here with her wife, she quickly involved herself with volunteer opportunities for organizations such as, “Potter County Sheriff’s Department”, “Panhandle Pride Organization”, “Amarillo Housing First”, “BSA Hospice of the Southwest”, “Starting a Rainbow”, and “Crisis Text Line”. She is a dedicated advocate for Women’s Rights, LGBTQIA rights, Mental Health Education and comprehensive sex education.
A proud step-mom of three and a dog mom of three, she busies herself with hobbies like hiking the Palo Duro Canyon, DIY carpentry work, knitting, marching for activist causes, attending community events, reading non-fiction and discovering culture through cooking ethnic meals for her family.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
- Rabindranath Tagore
Chelsea Rhodes is a Safe House PRN Advocate. She graduated from Amarillo College with her A.S in Psychology. Currently she studies Psychology at West Texas A&M University. She aspires to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Chelsea’s past experience was working for a program through West Texas A&M University as a tutor and a mentor to high school seniors and juniors. She loves helping people to identify their passions and reach their goals. She has a desire to serve in her community and help those who are in need. She enjoys getting to know people and their story. Working at the Safe House as an advocate allows Chelsea to help individuals in the midst of their trauma. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and spending time with her partner. You can also find her enjoying a good read.
“In time of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one.”
- T’Challa, Black Panther.
Jacki Welch recently returned to the Texas Panhandle and found her new work family with FSS. She was born and raised here, but left for a few years to attend Brigham Young University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and worked in Utah for a short while. She met her husband in high school and they got married while finishing their college education. They are thrilled to be back home and closer to their families and friends.
Jacki and her husband love to travel and experience new cultures and places. When they can’t travel the world, they also like to engage with people closer to home. They are particularly interested in working with the refugee and immigrant populations.
Jacki enjoys cooking, reading, keeping up with the NBA and college football (thanks to her husband), and shopping. She also makes efforts to be environmentally friendly, and persuade friends and family to do likewise.
Jacki is conscious of the world around her. She recognizes the many doors that have been opened in her life, and longs to help those who have not experienced the same opportunities. She loves and cares deeply for the people in her life, and desires to make a positive impact on every individual she encounters.
Lauren Diestelkamp was born in Amarillo but grew up in Northern Colorado. She recently returned to the Texas Panhandle to be closer to family. She has a BA in English with a concentration in literature and creative writing. She is currently working on her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is focusing on trauma-informed practice and is particularly interested in working with children and adolescents. She is incredibly excited to have joined the FSS family and to embrace her role as an advocate. She has a passion for giving a voice to the voiceless and to take an active role in ending the stigma surrounding mental illness and domestic violence as well as suicide. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, bird watching, watching old movies, and playing with her cat, Wallace.
It was in 1967 that Vaughn, an Airforce brat, became an Amarillo citizen. He graduated from Palo Duro High in 1976. He attended Texas a & M University and the University of Michigan. He completed his degree in Mathematics at Eastern Michigan University. After serving in the Army for over 10 years Vaughn returned to Amarillo. He worked as a carpenter and surveyor. In his free time , Vaughn enjoys white water rafting, camping, repelling, and mountain biking. He is a value to the Safe house and always there to fix anything and willing to lend a helping hand.
Ginsberg the Advocat
We are pleased to introduce Ginsberg the Advocat! Ginsberg has called the Safe House his home for about 4 months now. This friendly kitty likes to spend his days climbing trees, snacking on treats, and loving on clients and staff. His fluff and charm have assisted in de-escalating many a crisis and soothed some aching hearts. The Safe House is proud to have this sweet feline as a member of our team!
Jimmy is a retired Senior Chief. He served in the Navy for 26 years (1987-2013), and was awarded for 17 Strategic Deterrent Patrol deployments. A submariner, Jimmy was stationed on the USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN 657 Gold), USS Tennessee (SSBN 734 Blue), USS West Virginia (SSBN 736 Gold), and the USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740 Blue); however, he has been to sea on 17 of the US Trident submarines and 2 of the UK’s Trident Submarines. In addition to the submarine commands he served at the Naval Ordnance Test Unit, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency detachment in Albuquerque (Navy Liaison Office to the Joint Nuclear Weapons Publication System), and 2 tours at Strategic Systems Program arduous sea duty detachment in Cape Canaveral Florida (SP-205). Campaigns include Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Jimmy was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury while still in the Navy. After retirement, like many Veterans, he struggled with purpose, drive and focus. He was introduced to the Boot Campaign. The Boot Campaign not only brought camaraderie, but treatment, understanding, and a desire to help other Veterans find the resources that they need. In the military, when we get to the top of the obstacle, we turn around and help the next one up.
Randy Willmon was born in Amarillo and graduated from Tascosa High School. He joined the Army in 1995 after attending the Houston Bible Institute. He left service in march of 2015 after 20 years of service. He has held numerous positions in the US Cavalry, from Senior Scout, Platoon Sergeant, Drill Sergeant, G3 Operations NCOIC, UN Adviser. He has 4 Deployments overseas, Kosovo, Iraq X2, and Afghanistan. Randy's major awards are the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and many other achievement medals. Randy has also been inducted as a Distinguished Knight in the Order of Saint George.
Office phone: 806-342-2500
24-Hour Bilingual Crisis Hotline phone number: 806-374-5433
Toll Free 24-Hour Crisis Hotline phone number: 844-363-3452
We are located at 1001 S. Polk, Amarillo Texas , 79101
Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Hotline
Individuals needing assistance who are deaf or hearing impaired may contact us with the assistance of Relay Texas. Dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-RELAYTX (1-800-735-2989) for assistance in communicating with our Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Hotline. The Hotline has an Advocate available 24 hours, 7 days per week.